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5 Must-Read Tips for Safe Online Dating

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Happy Valentine’s Day! I wish you a beautiful day of love and light. Stay safe online dating or whatever you decide to do on this special day. Dating apps can be fun but watch out for scammers.

Each year, the Valentine’s Day season spikes an increase in the number of singles swiping and matching to find “the one.” With love in the air, it’s no surprise that these numbers would rise. Many people are looking for their soulmate, and being single around this holiday can be difficult.

In today’s digital world, online dating apps make the process of meeting someone more convenient than more traditional methods. They are fun and easy to use. For introverts and busy individuals alike, dating apps are particularly attractive because you can meet someone from the comfort of your own home and on your own time. And the online dating stigma isn’t what it used to be.

However, as great as dating apps can be, they should always be used with precaution. Alarming statistics have come forward recently that show the importance of protecting yourself against the potential dangers of online dating.

It doesn’t all have to be scary though. By taking precaution and being responsible you can have a great experience with online dating. Protect yourself against cybercriminals and cyberstalkers by following these 5 tips:

1. Protect Your Profile

While it’s important to give your potential suitors a glimpse into your personality, hobbies and basic information about yourself, you should always keep it brief. Do not overshare. It doesn’t take very much information for a cybercriminal to hack you. Even linking your other social profiles like Facebook can give them access to more information. Since 2015, Americans and Canadians have lost approximately $1 billion dollars to romance scams. This alarming statistic proves the importance of protecting your identity and digital presence.

Although using an app for dating sites can be convenient, it can also be an easy way to become a target for viruses and identity theft. Make sure not to use these sites on unsecured wireless networks, especially without antivirus software. These networks are found in public areas and are often swarmed with criminals waiting to find a way into your phone to collect data. Consider installing a mobile VPN that will encrypt your data by changing your IP address, providing you with more of a safe online dating experience. Then you’ll feel comfortable being able to use these sites without fearing any danger.

2. Do a Background Check

The best way to prepare yourself for your date is to know as much as you can about the person you will be going on the date with. A simple search online of their full name will provide you with a bit of an inside look as to who they are. If anything is alarming or sticks out to you, take this into consideration. For example, does a completely different person appear than the photo they have on their online dating profile?

Did you know that 1 out of every 10 dating profiles is fake? Often, people will steal photos and information from someone else’s profile to build their own. Their goal is to create a trusting relationship with you to eventually steal your personal information or money. Scary, right? This is known as catfishing. Reverse image searches will reveal if this is the case. Other signs to be aware of are:

  • They never want to show their face to you
  • The relationship advances quickly
  • They simply seem too good to true

3. Safe Online Dating: Take it Slow

With the nature of dating apps, it’s common for a relationship to move fast. Know that it is okay to take things slow – this is not a bad thing. There can actually be many benefits in doing so. Not only do you get to take time to get to know each other through communicating virtually for longer but it’s also a good way to build trust.

After you’ve communicated via chat for long enough, then you can consider moving to a phone or video call. Always make the speed of progressing the relationship at a rate that is comfortable for you both. If you’ve been hurt in the past, it’s natural you’d need extra time to dive into a new relationship. If the person you are talking to is truly interested in you, they will understand this.

4. Notify Someone Before Going on Your First Date

When you are ready to go on the first date with this person, make a plan that you feel comfortable with. For safe online dating, a public place is always best for a first interaction.

The most important part of your plan is to notify at least one friend or family member of where you will be going that day. Discreetly go to the bathroom to text or call them to quickly check in on whether everything is going alright during the date. Practicing first date safety will also help ensure that you have a great time.

5. Trust Your Gut

Do not be afraid to ask questions. You’re on this date to get to know each other, so take advantage of the opportunity. If red flags come up or if you feel uncomfortable, it’s okay to leave. Trust whatever your gut is telling you. Even if you just don’t feel a connection with someone, that’s okay.

Also, if you have to get up during the date, do not leave your personal belongings. You wouldn’t want to come back to the table to a missing wallet and no date sitting there or even having them snoop through your phone.

The Takeaway about Being Safe Online Dating

Don’t let this information scare you away from giving love on the Internet a chance. Many users find love through dating apps each year. In fact, 20% of all committed relationships currently started online and 17% of couples who married in the last year met online. You never know, you could be next!

Are there other red flags to watch for that haven’t been mentioned here? Have you tried online dating and, if so, did you feel safe using the apps and meeting someone in person?

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26 Comments

  1. alexraphael February 14, 2019

    All very sensible stuff. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Christy B February 15, 2019

      Thanks for appreciating the safety tips. I don’t think they can be stressed enough given the scams online…

    2. alexraphael February 15, 2019

      Exactly!

    3. Christy B February 15, 2019

      Have a great weekend ahead!

    4. alexraphael February 15, 2019

      You too!

    5. Christy B February 15, 2019

      Thanks!

  2. don't give a jam February 14, 2019

    great tips! thank you for sharing 💖

    Reply
    1. Christy B February 14, 2019

      Wishing you a great Valentine’s Day!

    2. don't give a jam February 14, 2019

      hope you have a wonderful love day as well!

    3. Christy B February 14, 2019

      Thanks :D

  3. The Coastal Crone February 14, 2019

    Everything now is online so I guess people want online dating too. Your tips make sense. But with any dating one needs to be cautious if you don’t know much about the person. Oh, people used to put personal ads in the paper so online is just faster and more efficient…I suppose.

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

    Reply
    1. Christy B February 15, 2019

      Online opens up a whole new way to work scams, unfortunately. It’s so much bigger than print ads for dubious opportunities :( Thanks for your feedback, my friend. xx

  4. Terri, Reclaiming Hope February 14, 2019

    These tips are so important! I just saw on the news today about people who are being tricked into laundering money by people they met on dating apps. I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

    Reply
    1. Christy B February 15, 2019

      Oh dear, money laundering, not good! All the more reason for people to be skeptical if someone seems “too good to be true.” Thanks Terri, it was a great day and I hope you had a nice day of love too xo

  5. Resa February 14, 2019

    Happy Valentine’s, Christy! <3
    I’m so happy I’m attached. I’m far too, old fashioned to on line date.
    It is a scary thing, and your tips are welcome. Staying safe and/or un-scammed is the number one issue here!

    Reply
    1. Christy B February 15, 2019

      It really is a scary time for dating. And then there’s the whole #MeToo movement. So much change in some ways… and then equal rights is slow in movement… Thanks Resa, I always find your comments so thoughtful. I hope you had a nice Valentine’s too xx

  6. Laura Beth February 15, 2019

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing.

    I never tried online dating. I’m happy Al and I found each other the “old-fashioned way.” That’s not to say that online dating can’t be successful – I know several people who have found love online and gotten married. Staying safe is so important!

    Reply
    1. Christy B February 15, 2019

      Oh yes online dating can lead to meaningful relationships, absolutely. But as with most things there’s the bad apples… It’s just a matter of being sensible and looking for red flags… Sometimes we don’t listen to our intuition and things can go off the rails then.. Great comment you left here!

    2. Laura Beth February 15, 2019

      Absolutely!

    3. Christy B February 19, 2019

      <3

  7. Loretta Sayers February 16, 2019

    I have to completely disagree with point 2! Building a virtual relationship can be a huge waste of time. Meet…as soon as possible…for coffee. Which is NOT a date. It’s a chance to meet the person face to face in a public arena for 20 minutes.

    I met my husband on match.com and we both agreed to meet right away. If there is no spark there’s no way to continue wasting your time. Next.

    Reply
    1. Loretta Sayers February 16, 2019

      I met point 3 ^

    2. Christy B February 19, 2019

      Ohhhh interesting! I wouldn’t say build a virtual relationship but a few messages before meeting can be good if you’re not sure if a person’s safe… I love that you’re not afraid to disagree with what you read here xx

    3. andrea34m March 13, 2019

      I very much agree with you, Loretta. To continue online-only “dating” for a long time could end up being a HUGE waste of time, and could hide a wealth of things about someone that one might not like… such as what they REALLY look like, whether they have any bad habits that one couldn’t live with (such as picking their nose or that they smell… ugh), or whether face-to-face you simply just don’t gel. And on the flip-side, if one met a guy online who was Mr Right then why would you want to just chat online for months rather than potentially finding future-hubby rather sooner?!

      Coffee shop is a good idea for a first date – cheap (and easy to go dutch), informal and a more relaxed atmosphere. I met a really nice guy online at a coffee morning for the first time with a Meetup Group, and he became my boyfriend before long for a while. Although we’re no longer romantically involved, we still have lots of fun.

    4. Christy B March 13, 2019

      Great to see you here Andrea and get your feedback on this one! I think from a safety point of view it makes sense to meet in a public place for sure. That’s great you and your ex still hang out :)

  8. Invisibly Me February 16, 2019

    It does worry me that some people aren’t very cautious, savvy or perhaps sceptical enough (though maybe I’m toooo sceptical!) when it comes to talking to others online and venturing into the world of online dating. You’ve made some excellent points and suggestions! x

    Reply

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